Thursday, 9 April 2009

Vice v7n2 Band Piece: Mike Bones


Mike Bones Is Our Favourite Misanthropic Novelist Stuck Inside A Singer Songwriters Body

We first came across Mike Bones while he was playing guitar with one of our other favourite singer-songwriter guys of all time, Cass McCombs. He then turned up playing with yet another band we have a big old crush on, The Sian Alice Group. With credentials like that and a background in the Lower East Side scene centered around the Social Registry label and much missed all hours spot The Tonic coupled with several albums worth of unreleased solid gold gems of melancholy introspection and we couldn’t help but want Mike all to ourselves. So we decided to snaffle him up and put his record out. A Fool For Everyone might just be the downer hit of the year, sleep on it at your own peril.

Vice: How did a punk kid with Johnny Thunders lyrics all over his arms become a singer-songwriter?
Mike Bones:
To me it’s the same thing. It all comes from the same place. It’s just that the songs are slower now. That guy was huge to me though. That contradiction of being so fucking dumb and yet so brilliant. He wrote one of the greatest songs of all time. “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory”? Huge.

There is a lot of hate in your songs. On a scale of 1 to 10 how misanthropic are you?
How can you not be a hater? You have to comment on the things around you and it’s hard to write an upbeat song. I’m not interested in writing a catchy tune or a melody, I just want to make sure that the words are as good as can possibly be. A Fool For Everyone was recorded in four days in this place called the Seaside Lounge in New York that the Excepter guys use and the whole time I was there Neko Case was in the studio next-door recording one song. Not even the whole song either, just the vocals, syllable by syllable. It was insane.

Do you still have time to teach guitar?
Sure, I’ve been doing that for years. In New York you get a lot of models that want to play guitar and be in a band so my students are often these crazy model types. That or people in bands. I’m not gonna say who but you’d be amazed at some of the people in big New York bands who’ve e-mailed me and asked for a lesson.

Some of your numbers read more like novels than songs. Have you got a book in you?
I’d love to write a novel. There aren’t any other singer-songwriters around I’d rip off but there are plenty of novelists and poets: James Salter, Denis Johnson, and the Marquis de Sade. De Sade was an amazing writer. You should read Philosophy In The Bedroom; it will give you a fucking hard-on. I was reading it on the plane the other day and I thought they’d take it off me; it’s full of sodomy and these insane rape scenes. The basic premise is that these two men and a woman turn this fifteen-year-old virgin into a subservient sexual slave. It makes you pretty glad to be a guy. All the fucked up stuff in de Sade happens to the girls.


A Fool For Everyone is available now on Vice Records

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